Operation Blazing Sword is a grass-roots organization dedicated to

helping LGBTQ people become responsible firearm owners.

 

If you think you may need a firearm for armed self-defense but don't feel comfortable going to a shooting range or a gun store by yourself, seek out any of our LGBTQ-friendly volunteer instructors. They will teach you the basics of firearm safety, operation and ownership for no cost and without judgement for your color, gender, sexual orientation, biology, or manner of dress.

 

June 12, 2018:

Words of hope and unity from OBS volunteer Courtney Ballard.

 

March 12, 2018:

 

Our Statement Regarding SB 7026

 

Operation Blazing Sword wishes to state in unequivocal terms that Florida bill SB 7026, aka the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, is terrible.

Queer people under 21 are denied their Constitutional right to buy a firearm for self-defense. The ages of 18 to 21 is a critical period where young people are discovering their sexuality but are away from home — or perhaps even kicked out of their home due to their sexuality — and thus are in special danger. Federal law already prohibits them from purchasing a handgun, and now they cannot even buy a rifle or shotgun for home defense.

The mandatory three-day waiting period now forces all innocent people 21 years or older to wait before they can obtain the tools to defend themselves from stalkers, rapists, violent exes or family members, and other perpetrators of hate crime, while those who seek to harm these innocents have only a restraining order — a mere piece of paper — to stop them.

While we applaud the notion of armed school guardian, the requirements are so onerous that they are effectively a barrier against qualification. What's more, the requirements of 132 hours of training are far in excess of what is required for police academy graduates, who carry firearms full-time in the line duty and yet have had a median instruction time of only 60 hours*.

In short, this bill puts young queer adults and women of all ages at risk, and demands more instruction of school guardians than it does of actual police.

While Operation Blazing Sword was started as educational outreach to the queer community, we emphasize that our organization and our volunteer instructors do not discriminate and will teach anyone who wants to learn the basics of firearm safety and operation. Therefore, if any teacher in Florida wants to learn how to shoot and acquire their Concealed Weapon Permit, our instructors will be happy to teach them.


* "Basic training [for State and Local Law Enforcement Training Academies] included a median 60 hours of firearms instruction and 51 hours of self-defense instruction."

 

January 30, 2018:

State of the Sword 2018

 

It is my honor and privilege to apprise you all of the current status of Operation Blazing Sword and what we have accomplished in the past 18 months. Since this is happening on the same day as the President's State of the Union Address, I shall call this our first annual State of the Sword Report.

 

Even though Operation Blazing Sword was born on June 12, 2016, it was not granted 501c3 status until late November of that year. 2017 was a year of building foundations and networks, things which are necessary for our continued prosperity but which are invisible to those outside the Board of Directors.

 

While the Board was busy in the background, members stepped up to fulfill our core mission. Operation Blazing Sword has over 1500 volunteer instructors in nearly a thousand locations across all 50 states, as well as trainers in Canada, Australia, and the US Virgin Islands. Since our inception, these volunteers have trained at least 35 people in the basics of firearm safety and operation. (I say "at least" because as a matter of policy we do not require those we help to "out" themselves as having received training.) Of those 35 trained, 15 of them went on to buy firearms; 11 of those 15 applied for a concealed carry permit.

 

We have also raised nearly $4,000, all of which has been from private citizens. While this seems small, keep in mind that we are truly grassroots and do not have the backing of corporations or a New York billionaire. For a pro-gun, queer-friendly niche group, this level of achievement is astounding. 

 

Put another way, our volunteers trained two people per month in firearm safety; 45% of those trained became gun owners, and therefore gun voters; 73% of those gun owners went on to become lawful concealed carriers; and all of this was done without government or corporate support, but instead through the efforts of individuals like you who believe that the Second Amendment is for everyone and that all human life is worth defending. 

 

We achieved amazing things in 2017, and I look forward to surpassing those achievements in 2018. We will hold community safety seminars, host open range days, and sponsor concealed carry courses. Our goal is to help people — not just queer people, but all people — protect themselves from crime and violence in a lawful and responsible manner. 

 

Through this instruction, we see each other through new eyes and tear down old boundaries. Gun owners gain an understanding of what it is to be queer, and queer people discover that gun owners do not hate them. Once you see someone as a human being, it is difficult to relegate them to the category of "the other". 

 

As J.R.R Tolkien said, “I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”  Likewise, I do not love Blazing Sword for its accomplishments; rather, I love those people whom it has taught protection. In 2018, let us come together as one people and declare that the lives of gay people and straight people, of transgender people and cisgender people, of those on the right and those on left all have value and are all worth defending — because we love them

 

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